The 10 Best Glute Stretches For Runners

Stretching! This term is not often music to runners’ ears. Most of us dread stretching and tend to skip it altogether. However, according to most training methods, it is essential as part of an integrated training program.

In addition to your run, whether it be an interval workout, hill repeat, recovery, or long run, stretching should be a fixed part of your cool down.

Although stretching all of your muscles used in a particular workout is ideal, this guide will focus specifically on glute stretches for runners. It will also give examples of specific glute stretches for runners to perform after any type of run.

In this article, we will take a look at:

  • The Benefits of Glute Stretches For Runners
  • What and Where The Glute Muscles Are
  • Tips For Stretching Properly
  • The 10 Best Glute Stretches For Runners

Ready? 

Let’s stretch!

Glute Stretches For Runners: Standing Figure Four stretch.

What Are The Benefits of Glute Stretches For Runners?

Stretching can benefit our overall muscle health and running recovery in several ways, including improving the range of motion in our joints, overall running performance, and increasing our muscle blood flow. It can also help decrease soreness after workouts, the risk of injury, and muscle cramping. All great reasons to work it into your training!

Let’s check out our glute muscles and why they are so important to our running.

What Are The Glute Muscles?

Our “glutes” or gluteal muscles are a group of three distinct muscles, the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteas minimus. You’ve most likely heard these muscles referred to as the buttocks. 

These muscles originate in the pelvis and insert into the femur. Our glutes have many important functions that are imperative to standing, walking, and of course, running. If you are a trail runner, your glutes will indeed help you in all of your uphill battles, literally.

A man sprinting in the sand.

These three muscles are responsible for the following movements: 

  • Hip Extension
  • External Hip Rotation
  • Internal Hip Rotation
  • Hip Abduction
  • Hip Adduction
  • Pelvis Stabilization 

You’ve heard it a million times, but having strong glutes will help reduce your risks of common running injuries such as shin splints, runner’s knee, or hamstring strains. Some exercises that can assist in strengthening your glutes include:

A woman doing a glute exercise called the clamshell.
Resistance Band Clamshells
  • Resistance Band Clamshells 
  • Squats 
  • Lunges
  • Dumbbell Step-Ups
  • Leg Raises
  • Lateral Resistance Band Walks 
  • Wall Presses 
  • Glute Bridges and Hip Thrusters
Glute Bride exercise.
Glute Bridge

These exercises should find their way into your running-specific strength training sessions.

Before we get into the specific glute stretches for runners, here are a few tips on how to optimize your stretching session in general:

Tips For Stretching Properly

  • Hold each stretch between 45 – 60 seconds to reap optimal benefits.
  • Try and relax your muscles while holding each stretch.
  • Breath deeply during each stretch. With each exhale, try and gently stretch the muscle a tad more.
  • Stretch your muscles gently. You should feel mild tension during the stretch but not pain. If you feel pain, let up on the stretch or stop altogether

Now let’s get into what we are truly here for, the ten best glute stretches for runners to perform after all of your workouts!

10 Best Glute Stretches For Runners

#1: Chair Figure Four Stretch

woman doing chair figure four stretch
  1. Sit up straight in a chair. 
  2. Take your left leg, bend it at 90 degrees and place your left ankle on your right quad, just above your knee. 
  3. Place your left hand on your left knee and push down slightly until you feel a stretch. 
  4. Keeping your back straight, lean your torso forward, bringing your chest toward your leg, for a deeper stretch. 
  5. Hold the position for 45-60 seconds. 
  6. Repeat on the right side.

#2: Floor Figure Four Stretch

Glute stretches for runners: floor four-figure stretch.

If you don’t have a chair around, you can do the figure four stretch on the floor or ground. 

  1. Sit on the floor with your right leg in front of you and your left leg in back of you; both bent at 90 degrees. 
  2. Keeping your back straight, lower yourself over your front, in this case right, bent knee, lowering your elbows as close to the ground in front of you as you can. Don’t go too far that you lose your posture and arch your back. Your back must be flat and straight at all times. 
  3. Try to lower down a bit further with each breath for a deeper stretch. 
  4. Hold the position for 45-60 seconds.  
  5. Repeat on the other side.

#3: Standing Figure Four Stretch

Glute stretches for runners: chair figure four stretch.

If you don’t have a chair nor want to sit on the ground, you can perform this stretch in a standing position. However, it does take quite a bit more balance and ankle stability to do it without tipping over! You may help yourself out if you need to by holding on to a wall or something else nearby.  

  1. Standing tall on your right leg, bend your left leg at a 90-degree angle, placing your left ankle on your right knee. Keep your right knee slightly bent for better stability. 
  2. Bend your right knee even more until you reach a squat position. 
  3. Place your left hand on your left knee and gently push down until you feel a stretch.
  4. Slightly lean your torso forward, bringing your chest toward your leg, keeping your back perfectly straight.
  5. Hold the position for 45-60 seconds.  
  6. Repeat on the other side.

#4: Seated Floor Glute Stretch

Glute stretches for runners: seated floor glute stretch.
  1. Sit tall on the floor with your back straight.
  2. Extend your legs out in front of you. 
  3. Place your right arm behind you.
  4. Take your right foot and cross it over your left knee. 
  5. Place your right foot flat on the floor next to your left knee. 
  6. Take your left hand and gently pull your right knee towards your left side.
  7. Hold the position for 45-60 seconds.  
  8. Repeat on the other side.

#5: Seated Floor Glute Stretch With A Twist

Glute stretches for runners: seated floor glute stretch with a twist.
  1. Sit on the floor with your back straight.
  2. Extend your legs out in front of you. 
  3. Place your right arm behind you.
  4. Take your right foot and cross it over your left knee. 
  5. Place your right foot flat on the floor next to your left knee. 
  6. Take your left arm and extend it across your right knee, palm facing outward, pushing your right knee towards your left side.
  7. At the same time, twist your torso to the right, trying to look over your right shoulder. 
  8. Hold the position for 45-60 seconds.  
  9. Repeat on the other side.

#6: Knee To Opposite Shoulder Glute Stretch

woman doing  Knee To Opposite Shoulder Glute Stretch
  1. Lie on your back and extend your legs out in front of you.
  2. Bend your right knee and bring it toward your chest.
  3. Pull your right knee up and toward your left shoulder with both hands. 
  4. Hold the position for 45-60 seconds.  
  5. Repeat on the other side.

#7: Open Lunge Glute Stretch

Glute stretches for runners: open lunge glute stretch.
  1. Begin in a proper plank position with your wrists, elbows, and shoulders aligned. 
  2. Bring your right foot forward and place it next to your right hand, knee bent at 90 degrees. 
  3. Stretch your straightened left leg toward the back and your right knee forward, pulling in opposite directions. Be sure to keep your back straight at all times. 
  4. Turn your torso to the right and stretch your right arm toward the ceiling forming a straight line. 
  5. Your gaze should follow your right hand upward.
  6. Hold the position for 45-60 seconds.  
  7. Repeat on the other side.

#8: Lying Glute Stretch With Resistance Band

woman doing Lying Glute Stretch With Resistance Band
  1. Loop a resistance band around your right foot.
  2. Lie on your back and extend your legs out in front of you.
  3. Hold both ends of the band in your right hand. 
  4. Lift your right leg with the band’s assistance, first straight up.
  5. Let your extended leg cross over toward your left side, keeping your back straight and flat on the floor until you feel a stretch.
  6. Hold the position for 45-60 seconds.  
  7. Repeat on the other side.

#9: Lying Down Glute Stretch

Glute stretches for runners: lying down glute stretch
  1. Lie on your back and extend your legs out in front of you.
  2. Bend your right knee and bring it toward your chest. 
  3. Lace your finger behind your right knee and gently pull toward your chest. 
  4. Keep your back flat on the ground. 
  5. Hold the position for 45-60 seconds.  
  6. Repeat on the other side.

#10: Pigeon Pose

pidgeon pose lady

Yoga poses can be an excellent addition to our stretching sessions.

  1. Start in the Downward Facing Dog pose (an upside-down V position). 
  2. Bring your right knee forward toward your right wrist, keeping your left leg straight behind you. 
  3. Bend your right knee and gently lower your right glute to the ground
  4. Lower your torso over your right leg, stretching your arms out in front of you with your elbow slightly bent. 
  5. Hold the position for 45-60 seconds.  
  6. Repeat on the other side.

There you have it! Ten glute stretches for runners to choose from for your next cool down. Remember to stretch all muscles used during the workout. You’ll surely need to include calves, quads, IT bands, and hamstrings if you were running.

If you haven’t already added in a dynamic workout routine before your run, take a look at our pre-run routine article for a helpful guide!

A woman running up stairs.
Katelyn Tocci
Katelyn is an experienced ultra-marathoner and outdoor enthusiast with a passion for the trails. In the running community she is known for her ear to ear smile even under the toughest race conditions. She loves sharing her knowledge and experience with everyone and has a great desire to motivate others to hit the trails alongside her. Run for fun!

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